The Sociology of Howard S. Becker: Theory with a Wide Horizon

University of Chicago Press
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Howard S. Becker is a name to conjure with on two continents —in the United States and in France. He has enjoyed renown in France for his work in sociology, which in the United States goes back more than fifty years to pathbreaking studies of deviance, professions, sociology of the arts, and a steady stream of books and articles on method. Becker, who lives part of the year in Paris, is by now part of the French intellectual scene, a street-smart jazz pianist and sociologist who offers an answer to the stifling structuralism of Pierre Bourdieu.

French fame has brought French analysis, including The Sociology of Howard S. Becker, written by Alain Pessin and translated into English by Steven Rendall. The book is an exploration of Becker’s major works as expressions of the freedom of possibility within a world of collaborators. Pessin reads Becker’s work as descriptions and ideas that show how society can embody the possibilities of change, of doing things differently, of taking advantage of opportunities for free action. The book is itself a kind of collaboration—Pessin and Becker in dialogue. The Sociology of Howard S. Becker is a meeting of two cultures via two great sociological minds in conversation.
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About the author

Alain Pessin (1949–2005) was a French libertarian sociologist and the author of many books. Steven Rendall is professor emeritus of romance languages at the University of Oregon. He has translated more than eighty books into English, including most recently Montaigne: A Life.
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Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
May 24, 2017
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Pages
144
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ISBN
9780226362991
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Social Scientists & Psychologists
Social Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Sudhir Venkatesh
A New York Times Bestseller

Foreword by Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics

When first-year graduate student Sudhir Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago’s most notorious housing projects, he hoped to find a few people willing to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty--and impress his professors with his boldness. He never imagined that as a result of this assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade embedded inside the projects under JT’s protection. From a privileged position of unprecedented access, Venkatesh observed JT and the rest of his gang as they operated their crack-selling business, made peace with their neighbors, evaded the law, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang’s complex hierarchical structure. Examining the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, and often corrupt struggle to survive in an urban war zone, Gang Leader for a Day also tells the story of the complicated friendship that develops between Venkatesh and JT--two young and ambitious men a universe apart.

"Riveting."--The New York Times

"Compelling... dramatic... Venkatesh gives readers a window into a way of life that few Americans understand."--Newsweek

"An eye-opening account into an underserved city within the city."--Chicago Tribune

"The achievement of Gang Leader for a Day is to give the dry statistics a raw, beating heart."--The Boston Globe

"A rich portrait of the urban poor, drawn not from statistics but from viivd tales of their lives and his, and how they intertwined."--The Economist

"A sensative, sympathetic, unpatronizing portrayal of lives that are ususally ignored or lumped into ill-defined stereotype."--Finanical Times

Sudhir Venkatesh’s latest book Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy--a memoir of sociological investigation revealing the true face of America’s most diverse city--was published in September 2013 by Penguin Press


 

 




From the Trade Paperback edition.
Oliver Sacks
Have you ever seen something that wasn’t really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing?

Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. People with migraines may see shimmering arcs of light or tiny, Lilliputian figures of animals and people. People with failing eyesight, paradoxically, may become immersed in a hallucinatory visual world. Hallucinations can be brought on by a simple fever or even the act of waking or falling asleep, when people have visions ranging from luminous blobs of color to beautifully detailed faces or terrifying ogres. Those who are bereaved may receive comforting “visits” from the departed. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one’s own body.

Humans have always sought such life-changing visions, and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them. As a young doctor in California in the 1960s, Oliver Sacks had both a personal and a professional interest in psychedelics. These, along with his early migraine experiences, launched a lifelong investigation into the varieties of hallucinatory experience.

Here, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr. Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition. 
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